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Lawsuit filed in senior death at Valencia assisted living facility

Posted: June 20, 2012 5:14 p.m.
Updated: June 20, 2012 5:14 p.m.

A Valencia home for seniors is being sued by a man whose elderly mother died after she was allegedly left alone on the home's patio in triple-digit temperatures last year.

Sunrise Sterling Canyon Assisted Living on McBean Parkway, part of a chain of senior centers based in Virginia, is named in a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Ron Corn alleging elder abuse, negligence and wrongful death.

Corn's mother, Loretta Rose Hooker, 89, died of heat stroke Aug. 24, 2011, with a body temperature of 103.3F as recorded by staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, according to the lawsuit filed with Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"This was a tragic loss felt by the entire community," said Sunrise spokeswoman Sara Abriatis in an official written company response issued Wednesday.

"If there is ever an allegation of wrongdoing, we take it seriously and react promptly to help ensure we are providing our residents with the best care possible, as we did when this occurred last year," she said.

"Everyone at Sunrise takes enormous pride in our 30-year reputation for every day delivering high-quality care to 30,000 seniors and their families in our more than 300 communities."

According to Corn, who lives in Valencia, his mother was left in "the hot summer sun with no shade or supervision" when he went to visit her on Aug. 17, 2011.

He complained to the home's supervisor, he said.

A week later, on a day when temperatures reached 100F, he
visited his mother again and again found her outside on the patio area, he claims. This time she was unresponsive.

Corn's lawyers with the R. Rex Parris Law Firm in Lancaster wrote: "She was unresponsive, drenched with perspiration and in obvious respiratory distress.

"911 was called and Ms. Hooker was transported to the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room in full cardiac arrest. Upon arrival at the hospital, Ms. Hooker received emergency treatment including placement of ice packs under her arms, neck and groin."

The seniors home is less than 1,000 feet from the emergency room.

"Despite the heroic efforts of emergency room staff, Ms. Hooker died of heat stroke shortly after arriving at the hospital," lawyers wrote.

"The autopsy report attributed her death to environmental heat exposure," they wrote.

"Ms. Hooker's death was the direct result of defendant Sunrise's failure to monitor, observe, protect and keep Ms. Hooker out of harm's way,"

Corn, the woman's only surviving heir, is seeking damages for medical and hospital expenses, plus pain and suffering.




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